Is the promise of technology like an innovation with a conscience? Will tomorrow’s breakthroughs ultimately represent the key to our future and advance us to a better world? Most ideas start out with good intentions. Researchers, for example, explore the unknown to find cures, to reach the unreachable, and to go far beyond our imaginations. Innovators create the unexpected, the extraordinary, and solutions to a wide array of problems. Today’s technology and software make it all possible with amazing digital progress that is moving faster than ever before. But how we choose to use this promise of technology maybe more important than the innovation itself.
The idea of finding new ways to solve problems and mend a world in need is not a new one. Using fire to cook food may arguably be the first of many positive innovations throughout history designed to improve our lives. Cultures around the globe have contributed to mankind’s advancement. From ancient innovations like plastic surgery (2000 BC) and cataract surgery (6th century BC) to cement (688 BC) and plywood (3500 BC), the concept of inventing for the benefit of humans has always been a driving force. So important is this need to improve and repair our lives that Judaism calls this practice of healing the world, the spirit of “tikkun olam.”
So, why is achieving good by way of technology so crucial today? Think about the mad scientist movie. You know how it goes. It’s the story about an incredible invention that will one way or another save the world from its ultimate demise. Of course, that’s not always how the story ends. Sometimes greed sets in and the scientist who once had good intentions now realizes the power that his innovation holds and opts to use his creation to destroy rather than heal.
As we dive into digital transformation, companies should be aware and address issues that could potentially be destructive, albeit unintentional. For example, the invasion of privacy through “big data” is destroying consumers’ trust in some brands. Companies should consider the importance of maintaining credibility versus ringing up bigger sales.
Fortunately, we live in a time when the concept of healing the world can be fulfilled through positive innovations and achieve widespread results. Solutions to help make our lives better for now and future generations is undeniably the best use of technology. Many companies successfully accomplish this promise of technology to first advance their business through better communication, better service, and better products. At the same time, these savvy businesses not only look to improve their bottom line, but also find ways to incorporate solutions that help heal reparable damage by altering existing practices to protect our future. For example, a waste disposal company’s development of a “diversion calculator” to help customers determine how much waste they are keeping out of landfills to help protect our environment. Or appliance manufacturers who are doing their part by developing “green” products designed to save energy. And the list goes on.
The promise of technology presents a challenge. Balancing the concept of doing good and making a profit can be a tough road for some businesses. Decisions about using certain products or working with various suppliers can ultimately cost more and reduce the bottom line. But for many business leaders and innovators, making a real difference in the world is an important goal. Developing and using the benefits of technology and software solutions have helped them make good decisions to do the right thing.
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